Westchester County DWI--First Person Convicted Under New Vehicular Manslaughter Law

March 25, 2008 by Mark Siesel

In a Westchester County DWI case, this week Shaheed Emery became the first person convicted in Westchester County under the new First Degree Vehicular Manslaughter charge, as the result of a fatal New York drunk driving crash on the Sprain Brook Parkway last year. Mr. Emery pleaded guilty to the charges of Vehicular Manslaughter, a felony, felony charges of aggravated DWI and DWI with a previous conviction, and a misdemeanor DWI charge related to an August 24, 2007 accident which killed his friend Jamiel Neal of White Plains and caused Mr. Emery to break his leg.

On that date, Mr. Emery lost control of his 1999 BMW and crashed into a guardrail on the Sprain Brook Parkway near Jackson Avenue, causing the car to flip over and land on the other side of the parkway. Mr. Neal died of blunt force trauma to the head. In exchange for his guilty plea to all charges, Mr. Emery will serve 4-8 years in state prison, according to the Westchester District Attorney's Office.

New York DWI Charges Against Public Officials

March 17, 2008 by Mark Siesel

New York DWI Charges have been filed against three public officials in the last month: two drunk driving charges against prominent figures, and the third against a New York City police officer. On January 30, in a Rockland County DWI case, former Rockland legislator and State Assembly member Ryan Karben was arrested and charged with Driving While Intoxicated when he crashed his Acura into a utility pole in Ramapo, New York. Mr. Karben claimed to police that he veered off the road to avoid hitting a deer. He refused a Breathalyzer Test and failed the Field Sobriety Test according to Ramapo Police officials.

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe says that he has no intention of offering Karben a reduced charge of Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) and that Karben's only options are to plead guilty to DWI or go to trial. Karben's attorneys intend to take the case to trial, possibly on May 12, 2008.

This past week, an off duty New York City police officer Robert N. Foley was charged with a Westchester County DWI when he crashed his car into the vehicle of a 70 year old man backing out of his driveway in Yonkers, causing the vehicle to careen into a parked car. The victim was taken to the hospital but his injuries are not believed to be life threatening. Officer Foley was observed by Yonkers police officers to have slurred speech, glassy eyes, an odor of alcohol on his breath, and was unsteady on his feet. He refused a chemical test. Officer Foley was charged with DWI and Refusing To Submit To A Chemical Test, both misdemeanors. The New York City Police Department has not yet indicated if Officer Foley has been suspended following the accident.

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